The Great Plotnik

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Flashback Truck

Plotnik passed by this truck this morning, and his brain flashed (in vivid colors) to those wonderful old Fillmore and Avalon Ballroom posters, where you had to stare, and stare, and stare some more to finally see the message hidden in the calligraphy. If you look long enough at the side of this truck, you'll see it says, ahh, it says, ulmmm...

Next door to the truck is a new designer glass house. If you live in a glass house it is probably a necessity to wear a robe when you read your morning paper.

One sunny day, after so much rain, and two creatures popped up in the garden: wild chantarelles (won't try to eat them) and doggus smilus.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Isabella Loves Mischief Too

Plotnik tried to get Isabella to say "Gramp" again on the phone last night, but all he got was "wharwahrhwarrha." But she was eating, so she was immediately forgiven. The Plotniks are sure Mischief misses her and they're sure she misses him even more.

The Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Soup) was wonderful yesterday for lunch, along with chicken and Thai Herbed Rice, but last night was even better. Plot and Duck walked Mischief down to Drewes, the once working-class-and-almost-empty butcher shop on Church Street but now upscale-organic-and-you-need-a-number-to-walk-in-the-door, and bought a hangar steak. Believe it or not, neither Plottie nor Ducknik had ever tasted a hanger steak before, but now that may be the only piece of beef they ever eat again. A few minutes in a hot saucepan with a few shallots and a little wine -- yowser! A baked potato and a salad -- it's like the old eat what you want days.

That's what happens when the Annual Physical is over. Your appetite comes back.

Mischief scored yesterday too, because Drewes is smart. Anyone who asks for a treat for their dog gets one. Yesterday Mr. Waggly got himself a large piece of grass-fed organic sirloin. We kid you not. Of course, he didn't taste it, he just inhaled it, wax paper and all, then spit out the wax paper. He doesn't seem to know the difference between sirloin and three day-old dog pee that he likes to lick off the odd concrete wall.

Yesterday morning, he gave his GrandHumans a scare. Plotnik woke up to the sound of a smoke alarm battery beeping in the back bedroom. Ducknik woke up too, and looked down at the floor and there was a trembling Mischief, his heart racing like it would run away with him. His tail was sort of wagging, but not in the usual exuberant way and every time the old battery beeped the trembling got worse.

So, Plot put one and one together and ran into the bedroom, wrenched open the battery compartment, put in a new battery...and the beeping stopped. When they phoned The Great PD, he said "Oh, he's just scared. High pitched sounds terrify him. That's why we can't use our microwave. He'll be OK in a few minutes."

And he was. Then, later on, he got organic grass-fed sirloin. Life is good at Camp WalkaWalkaMo'Walka?Walka. And PD sent the above picture, and this one:

As for the Physical: Over the shoulder, Ptaa! Ptaa!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

No More Secrets

The sun came out yesterday. It went home last night, but while it lasted it was gorgeous in the city.

Meanwhile, today was Plotnik's Annual Physical with Dr. IDunno/WaddaYouThink? One thing can be said -- Dr. Wadda-U is thorough. If Plotnik ever had any secrets, he doesn't have 'em any more. And now, after fasting since yesterday, it's time for Tom Kha Gai.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Beware The Foot Sandwich

But wait...after yesterday's stunning endorsement by the churning political machine behind The Great Plotnik World Headquarters, today's Morning Bag has an article about how Barack Obama is trying to woo California Latinos by coming out for that reprehensibly idiotic 'drivers licenses for illegal aliens' bill. That's the kind of mistake that can prove fatal later on. Hillary knew it and changed her mind.

One one hand, yes indeed, Obama's going to make stupid mistakes. If he's not smart enough to recognize it, he will lose support. But if he is alert, and intelligent, and not arrogantly thick headed, he will wake up and remove his foot from his mouth. Then that becomes one more reason to back him.

WAKE UP, BARACK! Nobody in North America, including half the Latinos at least, want illegals to have driver's licenses. You an ignore them, we've been doing that for years, but you can't sanction their illegality. It's a lose-lose for Obama, and we know the Repos will try to turn this into a combination plate of Willie Horton with Rice and Beans.

Can't you see the commercial: Mexican in cowboy hat, one hand on the steering wheel and the other on a bottle of tequila, weaving in and out of traffic, knocking off little blonde boys and girls as the radio blares out "Guadalajara Guadalajara!" Voiceover: "IF THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE, VOTE FOR THE SKINNY BLACK GUY." Karl Rove will come out of retirement for this.

Please, Barack: when life places your own foot in your mouth between two slices of bread, simply remove your foot. The bread will taste a lot better, trust us all on this.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Great Plotnik Endorses Obama and NO!

It's time to start thinking about who to vote for on February 5. The Rule of No seems to apply again this year -- which is to say anything that anyone wants bad enough to acquire the signatures to place it as a Statewide Proposition or Referendum will prove to be good for THEM and bad for YOU. Vote NO on everything, even alms for the poor. (If you look closely at Yes on Alms for the Poor, you'll uncover a highway project connecting the sponsor's summer house with Lake Tahoe.) NO. Always.

But that still leaves the issue of President. For the Republicans, Giuliani is an out and out thief (did you see how the NYTimes lambasted their home town boy this week, while endorsing Hillary?) but McCain seems to have lost his mind in Florida, and then there is Romney, who is Squealy. He's a package of Ding Dongs -- he has no ingredient that is good for you and he doesn't really taste good either unless you deep fry him. Huckabee is the Boston Braves. Made some sense in 1945.

Plotnik, once again, is very happy not to have to make a Republican choice, but if he had to he'd probably lead towards Giuliani, because at least he cleaned up Times Square. Plotnik wishes Mayor Schmooze-some would pay closer attention.

NO, PLOTNIK IS NOT BECOMING A REPUBLICAN. But he can report a rumor here, on these pages, that may or may not be true, and that all would probably deny under oath if pressed, BUT: The rumor is that a dear member of the extended Plotnik family, whose name will not be divulged without a subpoena (but with whom Plotnik is intending to get stinky rich peddling futures on new islands that are scheduled to begin appearing off the coast of Hawaii within 5,000 years) -- this family member, who is as Republican as apple pie with a file in it, who is almost as Republican as his father was ("I voted for a Democrat once, in 1932. I'm still mad at myself.") -- well, this dear family member, who lives in South Carolina, has voted DEMOCRATIC in the South Carolina primary! Not only that: he has voted for Barack Obama!

Stand up. Pick the ice cubes off the floor and put them back in your Manhattan. Our beloved Red Stater has not changed his stripes and he is not about to attend a conference on How to Make Gay Marriage Work. It's just that he doesn't love any of the Republicans but he DOES hate Hillary Clinton. The chance to vote against her was just too droolily tempting. That huge margin for Obama you read about in The Morning Bag this morning included at least one Anti-Hillary vote...according to a well-positioned source.

The Democratic Primary in California? First off, the Democrats have proven to be duplicitous and ineffectual. How they can keep their pants up with so little backbone must amaze their personal trainers.

BUT: Democrats did not lie us into a war that is slowly bankrupting our country. If there were no other reasons, and there are many other reasons, including financial perfidy, total ineffectualness in governance, astonishing international arrogance and the continuing disgrace of New Orleans -- Iraq alone and what it has done to our country, to say nothing about theirs, provides enough ammo for every American who believes in deomocracy to turn the bastards out on their ear. Every last one of them. Every Republican who followed W and Cheney and Rummie should be voted out of office, and so should every Democrat who voted for the war. Don't count W and Mrs. W and Schmeckl Plotnik, and this ought to be a near-unanimous election: 160,000,000 to 3.

But it won't be. So who do we Democrats vote for? Edwards, Clinton or Obama would all be just fine, as far as Plotnik is concerned. But this time he is going to vote in lockstep harmony with his South Carolina business partner-to-be. It may be the last time, so let's savor it, eh, Aloha-Man? I mean, you know, if the rumor is correct.

Obama it is. Obama is the only one running who has a chance to unite us. Clinton winning means all the people who hate her guts will still be in Congress and there will be continuing name calling and gridlock. Obama gives us all a fresh start.

Forget everything else. A fresh start. Can you ever remember when this has been more important?

Barack Obama and NO! You read it first right here.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Two More Weeks with Mischief, and Ducknik's Chile

This is as close as we get to a true Autumn picture on the gritty sidewalks of the inner city. And it's January. Plus, this inner city is not very inner.

The Great Plotnik has loved his morning and afternoon walks with Mischief, but the time is drawing near -- two weeks -- when it'll be time to take him home.

It is very easy to see how people become willingly enslaved by their dogs. Perhaps this is not true for his readers, but Plotnik does not normally get to live in a world of enthusiasm. Neither he nor his friends ever get very excited about anything, unless it's in a negative way, like towards the government.

But pure joy -- that's what Plottie gets from Mischief, and not just some of the time, ALL of the time. In the morning when he comes down to wake up his GrandHumans, and every time anyone walks towards the front door, puts on shoes or rustles a plastic bag, Mischief's life is about getting out of the house so he can put his ears back and race down the hill towards the next tree, house or lamp post. If Heaven really smiles a cat will tear across the sidewalk and the chase will be on. It's a simple way to live.

It's also a good life when Ducknik is back in the kitchen. Recently she has decided to revisit her old standards, the ones she used to cook when she and Plot were dating and then newly married. There still is no fried chicken like Ducknik's -- on their very first date she packed a picnic of fried chicken and brownies, which the two young pre-Plotnikkies consumed on an old blanket spread out on the cool beach at Montauk Point. There may have also been potato salad.

Ducknik also makes a mean chile. She made it last night.

The good part is that now she can dip into Plotnik's extensive chile cabinet to make up a spice blend of pasilla chile, New Mexico chile, Aleppo chile and cumin. That is some FINE chile, bub.

True, Northern California is Northern California. The Plotniks ate their chile over brown saffron rice.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Whopper and a Box of Donuts

Plotnik used to call our local paper the BirdWrap, but now that Mischief Puppy has needed to be walked twice a day, and it has been raining so they've been delivering the paper inside a nice, thick plastic bag, Plotnik has begun to appreciate the crappy news coverage even less but loves the plastic bag a lot. So The BirdWrap has been renamed: The Saint Plotniko Morning Bag.

Last Sunday, the Morning Bag had a long article about how low-fat diets are losing their medical prominence. The article led to this exchange between The Great Plotnik and The Great Ducknik:

"The second they announce it's true," says Plotnik, "I'm heading straight for Happy Donuts."

"You'll be by yourself," says Duck. "I'll be bill-deep in chocolate."

"A sack of donuts," says Plotnik, "and then two Whoppers with Cheese."

"Keep your Whopper," says Ducknik, "but a Hot Fudge Sundae from C.C. Brown's sounds really good."

"C. C. Brown's is closed," Plotnik says, sadly, remembering the best hot fudge in the whole world.

"No matter," says Ducknik.

Once again, Plotnik and Ducknik demonstrate a secret to a lasting relationship: Each person needs a different fantasy to chew on.

When The Great BZWZ comes home, Plotnik has discovered she doesn't eat in the Meatball Kitchen very often. When he asks her what she had the previous night for dinner she usually says: In and Out. Or burritos. Of course, BZ left for Zurich, Nairobi and Dar es Salaam this morning. For the next month she'll be eating lots of najeera, and, apparently, Ethiopian/Italian food too.

That Ethiopian diet would have very little in common with Burger King. On TV, they interview really fat people at Burger King. The women they interview eat there several times a day. They are always surprised to hear that a chocolate milk shake has 1100 calories and enough fat for a week. The interviewers, skinny women from Wellesley, turn to face the camera, shocked at this raw data.

Oh wake up. The truth is, whenever Plotnik sees a Whopper on TV he wants one. He hasn't eaten a real live Whopper in, oh, fifteen years, but he's still addicted. He bets when BZ comes home a Whopper will sound really good to her too. Can you still get those grilled onions on a Whopper?

Thursday, January 24, 2008


When the Great Plotnik had to buy new special, flat batteries for his digital camera, the ones he found on Amazon came with a tiny, foldable digital camera tripod. This morning Plotnik walked upstairs to get the newspaper at 7AM and the view of the city seemed like something out of years past -- smoke from a factory, lights twinkling on, a hazy glow in the sky.

So he got out his miniature tripod, screwed in the camera, set the apparatus on the barbecue and took a few pictures.

It's a little better than before. So now, if he can just learn how to control the shutter speed, and get one of those little screw-in triggers so he isn't moving the whole tripod when he trips the shutter, the view will get better and better, digitally speaking of course.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Siblings and Dogs

The Great Plotnik has been listening to several people, in the past few days, talking about their relationships with their siblings. (He has been one of those people.) Upon reflection, something about the conversation has struck him as incongruous. Perhaps those of you who have perfect, seam-free, picturebook relationships with your entire family already know what follows here, but there are those of us who need to think about it still.

Some people spend a lifetime thinking they can change a mate. We all know this can't be done. But we still think it's possible to make a brother or a sister behave the way we want them to.

It ain't gonna happen. Plotnik and his brother Shmeckl have known each other longer than practically anyone else. They've seen each other's best and worst. Shmeckl knows Plotnik's weaknesses. Plotnik knows Shmeckl's blind spots. That's the way it goes. We're all flawed people.

So the key seems to be accepting with some semblance of grace that your brothers are always going to be the spoiled, snot-nosed punks (if they're younger) or overprotective cyborgs (if they're older) you figure they really are. But ask yourself this: if this man really needed you, would you think about his shortcomings or run to wherever he is to help him? Would he sit by your side if you were terminally ill? Could you count on him to go pick up your child if your child were in danger?

If the answer is yes, to hell with the rest of it. Our siblings are not our best friends, we didn't pick them out at the kennel. We all got dumped in here together.

Yes, it would be nice if for once they would just...oh, whatever. They can't. Dogs can't talk either but you scratch their ears anyway. They smell too. Big deal. They know how to make you laugh.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bill's Birthday at Milano

When The Great Plotnik was taking restaurant photos with On Line for Idiots, he always walked in right before the place opened for business. The ostensible reason was to take photos of the restaurant set up and looking beautiful but without any people in the shots who would require signed releases.

But Plotnik had a hidden agenda and that was to find restaurants that smelled great. (When the place is empty all you can smell is the food, not perfume and hair spray and people stink.) These were those rare spots that had that East Coast hard-to-describe aroma and homey feel that he (and all of us) can sense the second we walk through the front door. Of every twenty restaurants whose photos Plotnik snapped, perhaps he'd find one that met his criteria. He'd file the name away, and eventually take Ducknik back there for dinner.

SOMETIMES he got to review the place and eat for free, Glory Be to Saints James and Julia. But usually he had to pay, and the smell test never led him astray.

One of these places was Milano, on Russian Hill. Plotnik loved the place when he took its picture a few years ago, but had never been back until last night. Milano smells Italian, but not North Beach Italian, where they pump up the garlic just to get people to walk in off the street. It's Northern Italy Italian, sophisticated but not shmancy, with a menu that makes you want to try every single dish.

Plot and Duck have really gotten lucky to have fallen in with a group of people who have known each other for decades and who enjoy spending time with one another. This is the other variable for any restaurant -- you have to go there with people who like to eat. Being newbies in this group is a delight.

To be a superb Italian restaurant, you have to make a superb veal chop. Milano's is just that. Most restaurants don't put veal chops on the menu because not that many people order them, but The Great Plotnik once ate his way through Tuscany, ordering nothing but veal chops in each restaurant in every city. It may not be possible to match the beauty at Il Bambino in Florence, but that may have something to do with the fact that Plotnik and Ducknik were placed next to a Japanese couple who needed help ordering, and Plottie was studying Japanese at the time. So he got to translate from Japanese to Italian, and Italian to Japanese, two languages he still doesn't speak, and it was TONS o' fun. Then the veal chop came, the size of Nebraska and as beautiful as a Michelangelo. Oh, man.

Last night, one delicious dish followed another, but Ducknik's polenta with homemade Italian sausages was maybe the best of all. The salmon was better when Nettie made it smile.

Walking out, everyone met the owner, Aldo, who turns out to have also owned Palatino on Cortland Street, before it closed. Silent Bill, who knows everyone, recognized Aldo having dinner with his very Plotnikkie-looking family, and they reminisced about long-ago meals.

Then we all walked out in the rain. Mush was holding Bill's hand, but dropped it right before the shutter snapped. But you can see it, can't you?

Monday, January 21, 2008

The New Tiapos Hangout

When The Great Plotnik was first invited by Domin-Nik to join TIAPOS, our writer's group met at Janny C's house in the Avenues. It has had many different hosts over the years, and has met in probably a dozen different locales and in at least four different counties.

Now, however, TIAPOS seems to have a new, spiffy home and it's a doozy. The Writer's Salon Studios on York Street sure does look encouraging for new stories and songs and jokes and togetherness, doesn't it? It's too bad the piano wouldn't fit, but Plotnik can probably still get his accordion through the door. There goes the neighborhood.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cold Morning on the B-Ball Court

It was so cold at the b-ball court this morning that Plotnik never even took off his sweat shirt and Cal cap. The wind howled right through the schoolyard and every bad pass stung the fingers and hands. But even though it took awhile for the tenth guy to show up, once the games started they were great fun. Plottie spun one in amongst the trees under the bucket, but for the most part just ran around keeping warm.

After a couple very wakeful nights, Plotnik is beat today, but there's boring football to watch so all is not lost. Can't wait to see the snow ball in Green Bay.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Adios to the Bare Bulb

As you enter The Great Plotnik World Headquarters, Meatball Kitchen and Travel Museum, the first room you see is the Victorian Parlor, and the first thing you notice in the Victorian Parlor is the grand old fireplace, surrounded by a marble, uh, surround doo-dad. The fireplace is certainly the first thing Plotnik and Ducknik saw and it pretty much sold the house in that moment.

What you don't see, until you look up, is that the light fixture in the Victorian Parlor, above the grand old fireplace, is a bare light bulb. It's been that way for the fourteen years since the Plotniks moved in and it has been eating at Ducknik for every bit of that time.

So yesterday Plot and Duck rode over to Sausalito to a store called Nowell's Lighting, where they sell expensive antiques and make beautiful inexpensive reproductions of those expensive antiques.

You bring them the dimensions of your room and they show you ideas and when they bring you the price it's a fraction of what you expected.

So look close. Two weeks from now there should be something nice hanging up there instead of the bare bulb.

Friday, January 18, 2008

What a View

The Great Plotnik and The Great Ducknik still have their mouths gaping wide open after seeing Danny Hoch's 'Taking Over' last night at Berkeley Rep. Read San Francisco Theater Blog review here.

Ducknik was working on the floor molding in the kitchen late yesterday afternoon when she looked up and saw the city's windows on fire. The glow spread all the way across the bay to Smokeland. Man, we do live in a beautiful place.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

El Violin

Ever since they got the New Time Wasting Machine and then, a year later, discovered that they also had HD, Plotnik and Ducknik haven't gone out to many movies. But this one called to them both: The Violin, a Mexican film playing a few more days at the Roxie.

Wow. The performance by the old man, whom you see on the poster playing his violin, is magnificent. Everything is understated, even the age-old theme of villagers versus the army, and the music from the scratchy violin becomes a metaphor for life itself. The last line of the film: the old man stares at the captain and says "Se acabó la musica." The music is done. Good Bye Miss American Pie. This is a great one.

Plotnik is very sorry to miss TIAPOS tonight but he'll be at Shmerkeley Rep reviewing the new Danny Hoch one man hip-hop show.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Good News About FiveHead's Knee, plus the January Garden

The Great FiveHead's knee is not as seriously damaged as feared. She has no ligament or kneecap damage, and it probably has to do with her dancing and yoga. Strength and flexibility save the day once again. Is The Great Plotnik listening? Mr. Two Knees At Least For Now?

Meanwhile, it's less than a month into winter and Shmalifornia doesn't care. Plotnik stuck some garlic cloves in a pot and they're sprouting already. Then we've got beets and rosemary:

Kale and arugula:

The first yellow daylilies:

...and the first purple alstroalmerias.

This morning, after Michigan's Republican primary, it's starting to look like Romney versus Hillary. Last name versus First name. So much going on. So much code.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Hanky in Print, then BULLETIN: FiveHead Hurts Knee!!

Hanky Girl and Beth S, two Tiapos emerita -- emeritae? emeritases? emeritachapitas? you know, ladies who are graduates of Tiapos, ended up in Leah Garchik's column yesterday, sounding just like they always do -- intelligent and loony, like the rest of us. Congratulations! Plotnik is searching right now for an old photo. OK, it's blurry. Hanky didn't eat the whole pie.


Meanwhile, two other people, one of whom Plotnik has been getting ready to worship, and the other whom everybody merely loves to death, have very recently had knee accidents. The Lakers' center Andrew Bynum's knee will heal, but he's the least of it. Yesterday afternoon The Great FiveHead slipped on one of J-Belly's toys and slammed her knee into the living room sofa. Result: paramedics hauling her down their stairs, a kneecap dangling on the side of her leg and three hours of agony while she and PD waited, 5H moaning on a gurney in the hall, for someone at Kaiser to pop the kneecap back in.

Bynum is out for two months but FiveHead is tougher, plus her knee is smaller so there is less to have to heal. We'll know more today when she gets back from Dr. Ligament. She sounds great -- and the encouraging news is it doesn't really hurt that badly now and there is little swelling. At least that's their story.

The problem is Plotnik would say the exact same thing to Mummy Plotnik if it had happened to him. In fact, it has. And he has lied with the same grace. Hopefully she really isn't in too much pain.

Where was J-Belly, the toddler formerly known as Baby Isabella? Asleep. She slept through the whole thing.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Bon Voyage Lever

1) The weather changed. It's warmer today, no rain.

2) Plotnik just spoke with The Great PD who was on the phone for an hour this morning with his and 5H's good friends who are in Paris for a year. PD, 5H and J-Belly are planning to vacation with them this Spring. Jeez. An apartment in Paris.

3) The Great BZWZ is leaving for Ethiopia next week. Where she will be this time is a lot remoter than last time. The photos of the local people who live in the North of Ethiopia are stunning.

4) The weather changed. Did Plotnik mention this already?

Put 'em all together, and the Bon Voyage lever got jammed into place this morning, like the ones on the old taxi meters Plotnik used to press down when a customer stepped into his taxicab in the Shmapple. So this morning Plotnik and Ducknik will put together Argentina info, and, just to be sure, Brazil and Japan. Of course, of the three, two are cheap and one is not, no no no no, Japan is not cheap.

Plotnik, however, is.

"What about me?" says Chile. "What about me?" says Bolivia. "What about me?" says the South Pacific.

"Shaddup," says Plotnik. "I need another alpaca sweater."

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Feliz Ano Nuevo from Jelly Isabelly

Isabelly's second New Year's Eve was in Baja. Can she get any cuter? There has been a GGMB Alert issued for the 26th of October Heights neighborhood of Saint Plotniko since this picture was received. Grandma and Grandpa Miss Belly.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Rosamunde is Always Great

Once a month or so, Ducknik has to get her fix for lunch from Rosamunde Sausage Grill. Here we see Vegan tofu sausages on the top (we'll talk about this later) with a knockwurst underneath; in the line, from left, are two white Neurenberger weisswursts, then a Hungarian, a beer sausage, a merguez (cut in half and grilling on its face) and finally two bratwursts.

It's possible that Plotnik just misidentified every single sausage on that grill. They all taste really good, whatever they are.

The Lower Haight neighborhood is very Fourteenth Street. (That's a Big Shmapple reference. Fourteenth Street in Saint Plotniko does not apply here.) It seems to be resisting gentrification, at least the kind of gentrification that lowers the crime rate. The amount of drunk homeless people and drunk people-with-homes hasn't changed much. Still, it's a cool place to eat because those drunks need to find cheap food.
Indian, Thai, bbq, Mexican, burgers and a sausage shop all on one street, surrounded by bars, junkies, beggars and a lot of fancy hair and nail salons.

OK, why would anyone order a Vegan tofu sausage? And why are the people who order them always women? And why are these women always pierced like dart boards? And why do these women look like they take the Vegan tofu sausages home and serve them with a side order of broken glass and nails?

For the record, for yesterday's lunch Ducknik had a beer sausage with dijon and grilled onions, while Plotnik had the Hungarian with dijon and sauerkraut, plus a giant dill pickle on the side. That pickle always gets cut into fat quarters. Two of the quarters disappear with the sausage sandwiches, and the other two get put into a sour cream-pickle-sherry sauce for yummy Polish pork chops, somewhere down the line.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Fifteen Minute Limit

David Mamet's 'Speed the Plow' at A.C.T. is really good. You can read The San Francisco Theater Blog review here.

Meanwhile, The Great Plotnik has a good friend who has unbelievable phone stamina. Plottie does not. The friend believes if he just keeps explaining, if he just keeps approaching the same issue from a slightly different angle, Plotnik will eventually give in.

Plotnik keeps saying: No. It's a bad idea.

His friend says, well, what if you look at it this OTHER way.

The man is a dear friend, so this morning Plotnik figured out how to proceed. He told his friend that from now on he should look at his watch whenever he calls anyone in the 415 area code. He should pretend he is the Handsome Prince and he is talking to Cinderella and it's fifteen minutes before midnight. Fifteen freaking minutes and the conversation terminates, end of story, kaput. If he can't make his point in fifteen minutes, the point needs sharpening. God, Plotnik hopes this works. His left ear is killing him.

Plotnik used to have more phone stamina. He used to have freeway stamina too. He could drive on the freeway for two hours to get to a gig, work the gig and then drive two more hours to get home. He can't do that anymore.

And he had idiot stamina. He could listen to talk radio.

No longer. He figures he has a certain amount of hours left on the planet. Even if the number, Praise (S)He to whom all Praise is Due, is in the millions, there is a termination point. Plotnik is damned if he's gonna spend more than fifteen minutes of any of those hours on the phone, whether the slipper fits or not.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Garage to Garbage in Just One Letter

Seems like every old house in 26th of October Street Heights is being raised up to add a garage and a new, more secure foundation. The Parking Committee at World Headquarters toyed with adding a garage a few years ago, but decided a room for The Great PunkyDunky was more important than a place to park the Ford.

Every worker on every project speaks Spanish. You can tell by the great music you hear at the construction sites. No more Achy Breaky Heart, and for this we say Thank You Jesús.

And still, all those suburban Republicans want to send the illegals back to Mexico. Fred Thompson must never leave his car or his walled community. Look closely at the picture above, dipwads -- this particular earth mover hasn't moved at all in a month. (Perhaps they ran out of money?) Look to the future you're advocating: No one moving earth. No one building houses. You want $3 coffee? Make it yourself.

The garbage will get picked up, though -- the garbage collectors are black. You'll still get pizza -- the pizza shops are Brazilian. Vietnamese women control the nail parlors. Plotnikkies write all the Christmas songs. So garbage pickup, pizza, mani-pedis and Mistletoe. Adiós amigo to everything else.

Did you wonder how 'garage' could lead to 'garbage'? Now you know.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Underdogs Win in New Hampshire

The underdog is smiling in American politics, at least for the moment. Whomever is counted out gathers sympathy from the electorate. This is why we can't have a King.

It's good. The only problem is it can't last forever. One of these candidates is going to have to become the favorite, and then comes the general election. Will the person with the least chance to win become President?

What happens if Hillary and Barack split the rest of the way and no one wins a majority? Could we end up with a convention that actually means something for the first time in 40 years? The Great Plotnik wonders if Al Gore is watching. Answer: Yup.

Does John McCain look really old and feeble to anyone but The Great Plotnik? Hero, or no hero...does he look well to you? He functions great as an underdog, though.

Still, as all veteran dogwalkers know, you don't want to spend too much time contemplating what is under the dog.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

It's Tuesday in New Hampshire and Raining in Saint Plotniko

This morning, The Great Plotnik woke up feeling nervous about Barack Obama, and then realized that's a good thing. We all have to realize that if we really do want to see business done in a totally new way in this country, it's not going to be a comfortable process.

Last night, Obama was on The Daily Show. John Stewart asked him about the 'experience' issue. Obama had a great answer: "Experience can be overrated. Nobody had more experience than Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld."

So if we want to swim we're all going to have to be willing to get wet. It's easy to do that in Saint Plotniko today -- it's rainy, cold and dreary. Tonight is the New Hampshire Primary and then we get down to serious business after that.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Wonderful Laidley Street

This is the old Sally Stanford mansion one block above World Headquarters, on a small street called Wonderful Laidley Street, which is filled on both sides with architecturally fascinating homes. Lots of artists and architects live up here, along with a ton of FJL's who run by very fast on the sidewalk, in a perfectly straight line, sneering as they listen to their Joan Armatrading CDs, with their poopsy dogs on leashes straining to keep up with their mistresses' frantic pace.

Mischief doesn't care. He endures the angry stares and pees with pleasure wherever the fancy strikes him. One after the other, these really are magnificent homes. The one that follows is called the Eyebrow House. You can see why.

It's a fantastic neighborhood. Plotnik would have taken more photos, but he ran into his old neighbor who was walking her parents' two dogs. Mischief took one look at them and that was the end of the leisurely stroll on Wonderful Laidley Street.